Have you ever had an experience so different from anything that it brought the very foundation of what you thought the world was about into question? It turns out that experiences such as these are the stuff of which new movements are born. Great inspired people who have been struck by cosmic lightening have often gone on to teach, to make big impressions on others with what is authentic in human experience. What follows after people like this are institutions such as governments and religions. The problem with religion is that it turns a movement into a static entity, essentially a moment frozen in time. The problem with this is that our progress spiritually is gauged by what someone said thousands of years ago. Different languages, many people telling the story, taking different parts and emphasizing them. In such a situation as this, things often get lost. No one wants to admit it, but even in relying on anothers’ experience, we are naturally trying to see it all through their lenses.

 

When I went through my awakening in 2007, I had no idea what had happened to me. I was just recenly talking to a friend in my town who also went through awakening, and I was saying how it went completely over my head even though I had bought a book on the subject when I was 15. Even then, it was hard to draw any comparison. That is just how unique this experience is, and bewildering, too.

 

What makes my awakening interesting was how early Christianity figured into my discovering what I had. I didn’t learn about it like most people do from Vedic texts or the Upanishads, or from Buddhism of one stripe or another. I made my discovery after publishing  some writing online about my experience. It turned out that a reader who had a background in seminary said that there were passages in my writing that sounded just like the Gospel of Thomas. “The Gospel of Who?” I asked incredulously. He went on to explain about a recent discovery of previously unknown gospels and he suggested I take a look. I, of course, took a look.

I came away from that experience, once I picked up my jaw off the floor, beginning to read more widely the books in the Nag Hammadi Library, which is where  The  Gospel of Thomas is found.
I began to see that these books were describing in detail all facets of the awakening experience. I began to read in the canonical gospels and wondered why there was such a disparity in the content. More or less orthodox Christians will say that these books represent a heretical branch in the Christian tree, not true mainline thought.  But how could it be, I wondered, that these heretical books were describing in lush detail the facets of my experience so well? And how was it that the canonical gospels lacked this information?

To learn this I had to embark on a journey into the history of Christianity and look in places most people don’t think to look. After studying language issues, dating issues, and the canonical gospels structure and where earliest Christianity began to emerge, I found that something was not quite right. To understand what I mean, I looked at the work of a linguist and scholar in the field of religion who uncovered something rather startling about earliest Christianity.

A religious scholar named Baer did a survey of the countries that had the earliest Christian presence and he found that it was the heretical teachings and the language associated with them that got there first. In most cases, orthodoxy was the late-coming movement. Something was beginning to come into focus that I had never dared consider, but made perfect sense; the original Christianity was a very different thing from what it was turned into once Rome began to support Christianity as a religion.

But something else bears mentioning, which is how Rome created its own spin on the doctrine or teachings of Jesus. Rome won out as the defacto  center for Christian thought because of its wealth in resources: educated scribes, money, and political power to back it all up. Constantinople, which was an early church center, lost out as the seat or center for the church.  In telling history, it is the victor who gives their version. This most certainly happened in Constantine’s Rome, but it was a movement that had already been three hundred years or more in the making before the Church was institutionalized. There was an interesting history in those years between 100 A.D. and 340 A.D., and in looking at the writing of historians of that time, I began to see that a certain strain of thinking was gradually weeded out. No, it did not all come at once, but a community of thinkers who would call themselves “Orthodox” grew and gained momentum. They didn’t grow in momentum because they were right, they grew because they had might.

 

There are are things we can never know in our history of Christianity. One thing is certain, however, and that is that the deepest secrets were the ones saved for the “elect” and books were destroyed in order to hide the existence of what was once described by an early Bishop of the Church as the “heirophantic teachings” of Jesus Christ. While some roll their eyes at the notion of anyone taking such a statement seriously, I consider such mentions are incredibly important. As I delved deeper, I saw a schism between those who described the secret teaching Jesus did with his inner circle and those who claim that Jesus was always making his teaching open to everyone. This latter notion has showed itself to be a fairy tale, a bit of wishful thinking for a host of reasons.

 

First, consider that Jesus was Jewish. Rome and the Jews were not allied, but were occupied. Jews chafed at Roman rule. Not long after Jesus’s death, Rome sacked the Jewish temple and took everything in it out. The temple was just….gone. Jesus, being Jewish, had to be careful about his teaching. He hid his teaching behind parables because in many cases,there were Roman Centurions standing guard along the periphery of some of his meetings that were in public. The early historians wrote about the importance of reading those teachings which Jesus gave in secret (Origen). Valentinian, who spoke to one of Paul’s students developed a system of teaching what Jesus taught that was a tiered system that gradually brought the follower deeper into the innermost teachings, which were described as like the Holy of Holies.  Once that person had been suitably prepared, educated, or were “mature” enough to get the “Innermost” teachings which were given in secret, they were given access to these teachings. In the Nag Hammadi Jesus is quoted as saying that he speaks to the crowd in code, but speaks “directly” to his disciples when in private. Jesus had even warned his disciples about knowing what I call the “who, what, when” doctrine when he said to not cast your pearls before swine, lest they be trampled underfoot….and then set upon you and trample you as well! If this isn’t an obvious argument for secret teaching, I don’t know what is. Not all seeds sown will take root; let those who have ears hear! Jesus explained very clearly that you had to be careful who you said what to. Even Jesus was seen speaking in code in public….how is it that this is so hard for people to understand that, yes, he did have teachings that were kept away from public view. If you take the teachings he conveyed in all gospels, including Thomas and Phillip, it becomes clear that he is doing more than just setting out a code of behavior, he was providing the very keys to a radical transformation to occur within each person who knew how to “put on” this form of awarenesss. With governments perennially concerned about its populace becoming too empowered, such teachings could easily be viewed as a threat. Origen, the first century Christian philosopher and historian, pointed out that if you wanted to get to the meaty parts of Jesus’s teachings, you had to see where he is  teaching followers in private, away from the crowds. This was how revolutionary these teachings were.

I suspect that the “secret” parts were kept secret because they would have been considered blasphemy by those who had not been initiated into its mysteries.  This secret part involved a masculine and feminine aspect of the deity which,  when brought into full union within ones awareness, creates a state of pure ecstasy in the individual who is then experiencing this divine reality.  It was nothing short of flipping a switch inside ones own inner consciousness, a hitherto unknown capacity in each person for glimpsing, then experiencing a full-on union with the divine. Who then would dare to speak openly about what was described as a sacred event that occurred in a place in the soul that was called the bridal chamber?  This was how this union was described, folks! Two forces in consciousness were drawn together and when merged, formed another consciousness that changed everything; this was the Christ Consciousness. In Phillip he explains how the father and mother came down and entered the bridal chamber (the place where they embraced or became one) and on that day, he says, the Christ emerged from out of the bridal chamber! But what is he saying here? He is saying that inside each person we have a bridal chamber; this is an event that happens inside of us: “The kingdom is within.” This bridal chamber was not a physical place but was a way of describing how two opposite elements came into a mysterious form of sacred union that had no other equal save for sacred sexuality. To say that divine awareness might involve an ecstasy so powerful that the only comparable experience is a persistent orgasmic state would be enough to send the temple priests calling for the heads of the people so describing it. Utterly revolutionary! It was also utterly denied, refused in the canonical gospels. But aren’t the canonical gospels…..the gospel? Aren’t we taught to believe that the mainline gospels are the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Biblical scholars now suspect that the gospels were in fact not written, as they exist today, by the disciples they were purported to have been attributed to for a number of reasons. First, their structure is not consistent with itinerant fishermen, many of whom were illiterate. They are so sophisticated in how they are written that scholars see writers who already know how to produce great literature. Scholars also suspect that each of the four gospels were using another source, now unknown, from which to draw from which they call “Q.” In John Atwells recent book Caesars Messiah, the author puts forth a compelling argument for how Roman elites hired a Jewish historian, Josephus, to help them craft the gospels that we know today. Drawn from Biblical sources, this appears to be an effort to dampen the power of Christianity by removing the more empowering parts from the narrative. For the most devout, Atwell’s work will seem an effort at attacking Christianity, but when taken together with everything we now know from numerous other sources, it becomes harder to dismisss that something happened during those early years when it was becoming apparent that Christianity was here to stay. For a Roman elite, it would have been hard for them to grasp the importance that a trinity based in the father-mother-child (or Christ) had in Jesus’s teachings. Whoever wrote the gospels, they were literalists. Whoever wrote Thomas and Phillip, they had a firm grasp on the esoteric nuance of divine union and all that it entailed.

 

The great impedement for so many is is being able to conceive that any of this could be compared to anything like sex. But this is what the soul feels when it is in union with its source, it’s maker, it’s creator. The secret is that orgasmic energy may well be just the kind of creative motive force capable of creating new life, of begetting new souls, and resurrecting the dead ones. But unlike physical sex or orgasmic ecstasy, union with the divine is clear, without a need to engage in the physical act in order to feel the swirling eddies of bliss on a spiritual and energetic level. Initiates into this mystery discover that this is the very nature of our divine spark. This bliss is our true nature. This true nature returns us, heals us, straightens us simply because you can’t know it unless you have been carefully prepared.

But didn’t my awakening happen more or less spontaneously? In a manner, yes, but I did do certain things that triggered it. I don’t need to go into those now, but what I did was described by the Jesus found in both Thomas and in Philip’s gospels. It is the very essence or foundation upon which all awakenings are initiated or catalyzed.

Knowing this, and knowing the substance of my awakening, I knew that I had lept far beyond the conceptualizations made by others who followed along later in the Orthodox lineage. A lot is assumed, most namely what Jesus meant when he spoke of chastity or adultery. Most followers think he was teaching against being sinful. He was, but it is clear that when Jesus spoke of adultery, he spoke of not being true to ones own inner godliness,  not turning away from ones true nature, which is the kingdom within. Doing so was like adultery, or serving two masters.  I ask, what better term to describe being untrue to the divine within? Even Paul used these terms in the same way, explaining one should not consort with prostitutes, but he was not speaking about people who charge money for sex, but people who have sold themselves to that which is not true or not having to do with the indwelling Christ consciousness. It was not about sex, it was about turning from that which can save each of us; awakening does exactly that. It purifies, ressurects, and makes the crooked in us straight. But a tide of literalists followed along who seemed to have no idea whatsoever what was being described. But how can you describe such a thing that is not of this world? The answer is, “the best way that you can.” So I ask you you, did Jesus ever say the kingdom was a mustard seed, or that it was a treasure buried in a field? No. He said it is “like.” And that is important because nowhere does Jesus say it “is” because you can’t get there using 3-D words or thinking. Truth is, you can’t describe something so revolutionary and as outside our context of present physical life with mere words. And yet,they tried. All teachers do. At the end of the day, you simply must experience it for yourself. This is why those who have no experience with awakening will criticize and distort it beyond all truth with such phrases as demonic possession and not of God. Kundalini was precisely what Jesus was describing using a vocabulary that used different words, but the exact same structure and descriptions, all of which are analogs to the Hindu and Taoist traditions. I know because I have experienced it. I know it’s symptoms, it’s effects and outcomes, and they are all the same except for the languages used. To compound all of this,  they hid or destroyed books, proclaiming to all that they were heretical. They took some books and did not accept others as cannon. The Gospel of Thomas and the gospel of Philip  we’re both hidden away for centuries because they contained the very marrow of the secret teachings of the Christ and they struck those who were “dead” in their spirit as strange teachings. Furthermore, in Philip he makes clear that Jesus was seeking not just followers but people who could themselves become  Christ’s. This stands against orthodoxy but is what happens to each person who awakens; they realize the Christ consciousness that is with in them.

The more I looked along the periphery, the more I saw what continued to support a Christianity that was based in esotericism for those ready for it while some teachings to the public were kept in code so that the mind ready to pierce its deeper meaning could,while for others it might convey a simpler but still useful meaning without the larger implications contained in its more esoteric counterpart.

No Gnostics

People describe the Nag Hammadi as Gnostic while the people of the time never used that term. This was a literary creation that emerged in the 18th Century. While the Orthodox Church certainly sought to distance itself from writings
that were more esoteric, the people at the time considered themselves as Christian. Today a Protestant does not consider themselves as any less Christian than a Catholic. The idea that the Gnostics are somehow outside mainline thought is beginning to be shown as a fallacy, except with how Thomas and Phillip are so seemingly different from the mainline or Orthodox texts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But it is hard for most to believe such a thing after 1600 years of established thinking that makes many bold assumptions about who they thought Jesus was as a man and his relationship to God.

 

But even after 1600 years, the voice inside of me which speaks with the ring of the divine tells me that much is amiss. While I think it is a fallacy to speak for the deity, by our all bearing the divine spark, we each can, and do, have access to the kingdom that Jesus spoke of. But bear in mind, this kingdom is in all of us…..regardless of religion or culture. In fact, the Church had the truth but lost it when it tried to say that it was the only true teachings about God the father. They lost it when they pushed aside the feminine aspect contained within its teachings, and in so doing, bastardized the teachings and drove the truth underground by ceaselessly hunting those heretics who still carried the deeper teachings and dared give women an honored role in the church as priestesses, teachers, and caretakers of the church. In somdoing,mtheynalso hid the reality of a feminine aspect in every person’s own consciousness, formit was in this place, the bridal chamber inside each person, that this meeting took place. No, these Valentinians and Ebionites and Cathars were hunted down and killed for their blasphemy against the so-called Orthodox Church, and much of the old tradition was lost. It wasn’t until what would be called the Nag Hammadi Library was found that anyone would have known that there was more to the story.

 

“Some said, “Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit,” They are in error. They do not know what they are saying. When did a woman ever conceive by a woman?” Philip lays this out brilliantly in his gospel by explaining for all to see that Jesus taught that the Holy Ghost was the feminine aspect of the divine. Even in Philips own life he was seeing how people were already distorting the original teachings by adding in material that showed that they didn’t have a grasp on the fact that the Holy Ghost was known by the disciples as the feminine principle of the divine experience. Paradise was found, then just as quickly lost in just a single generation!

The Holy Ghost is feminine? Consciousness described as having both aspects of male and female? The two aspects locked in ecstatic spiritual union, creating its “child” who Jesus took on as Christ and taught it was in everyone? These were the central messages related to true spiritual knowing and liberation….and no one bothered to try to understand what they meant before tossing them aside and calling them “heresy.” The truth thus became inconvenient to the false righteous who followed afterwards, no longer capable of glimpsing the great light, the majesty with which God wields its creative force.  Paradise found. Paradise lost. Wow.

 

The curious thing about all of all of this is how upon awakening you can identify the teachings that are of the most innermost importance while the less important teachings remain as something that anyone could guess (codes or rules for behavior for example). As a result, anyone attaining the light would no longer need books to show the way. This was described in a number of books in the Nag Hammadi Library as well as in the teachings in the Orthodox gospels. Something becomes plain to such a person in a way that was not accessible before. When one attains the light, it is the light that now guides instead of a teacher or words in a book. The same is true in the Indian and Chinese esoteric traditions. They are all describing the same phenomenon. It is only because or arrogance that a Christian believes they are the ones with the monopoly on the truth.

 

To illustrate how this is a universal experience, the teachings in these books describe kundalini perfectly, something the the Hindu describe in great detail, and both Thomas and Philip do with significant detail and consistency throughout both gospels. Everything about the descriptions are entirely consistent with their Hindu and Taoist counterparts! The vocabulary used to describe them might be different, but each are describing the same thing (despite the strenuous protestations of the Orthodox and it’s descendants). The Taoist tradition describes it beautifully in many of the same ways. The book The Secret Of The Golden Flower shows how to awaken the same force which Jesus was seeking to instill in his followers and whose fire was evidenced during Pentecost as the same transmission of grace as that of the Indian guru transmitting the grace of the pranic force to his or her followers. Jesus awoke under the tutelage of John the Baptist, and Paul was struck by a blinding white light in the same way that those who awaken today do. Sadly, it is only the Orthodox who try to make one true while the other is false even though they are identical. I believe it was Rumi who said all water is drawn from a common well but we try to differentiate one bucket full as different or better than another….and yet it is all just water, it all serves the same purpose of piercing thirst and washing away ignorance.

 

I have come to see that we always live in the presence of the creator. No matter what religion you follow, the creator is there waiting for your arrival. As always, it was never about the outward religion that mattered, it was the truth that the kingdom is within each of us. That means all of us.

I know that to have said such a thing as this would get me killed just five centuries ago, but we do not live in such times now. I have come to see that Christianity began with the truth and later had it weeded out in order to, I assume, make for a more docile and more ignorant following. Luckily, we do not need anything but the spark within us to take us to unimaginable heights. I did, and so can you. The kingdom is within you— inquire within.

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